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South Tyneside to mark VE Day with online celebrations

South Tyneside is set to pay a virtual tribute to the Second World War generation as part of national celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day as it is better known, marks the momentous day in history when Winston Churchill declared an end to the Second World War in Europe in 1945.

In line with Government guidance around social distancing and the need to stay at home due to Covid-19, mass gatherings have been cancelled, with communities urged to remember and mark the occasion online and from the safety of their own homes.

South Tyneside will join cities and towns from across the UK to take part in the commemorations - a three-day national celebration at home, running from Friday 8 May to Sunday 10 May - with residents invited to get involved through the Council's social media channels.

South Shields Town Hall will fly the flags of the UK's allies as part of local commemorations and the colours of the Union Jack - red, white and blue - will be beamed on to the grand Edwardian building and magnificent clock tower.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick said: "Although there won't be any formal services taking place in South Tyneside to help stop the spread of coronavirus, it is extremely important that we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. It marks an iconic moment in our history - a day that peace spread across the continent, bringing an end to nearly six years of war and carnage in Europe.

"We are proud to be part of the national day of remembrance and reflection. It is a time for us all to honour all those who sacrificed so much and showed great courage and determination to secure the freedoms that we enjoy today.

"Though we are all apart, we can still unite to mark this significant occasion, which is why we are calling on people to help recapture the spirit of post-war Britain and to remember and give thanks to the Second World War generation from the safety of their own homes."

South Tyneside communities are encouraged to hold indoor picnics, afternoon teas and raise a celebratory toast to heroes at home. Residents, schools and care homes are also urged to share photos of their celebrations featuring bunting and window displays, drawings and paintings, on the Council's social media channels, using the#VEDay75.

The UK Government has moved the early May Bank Holiday Monday to coincide with VE Day on Friday 8 May 2020.

The UK's official commemorations will begin at 11am with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence. A televised National Toast will also take place at 3pm, marking the moment that the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced over the radio that the war in Europe had come to an end, when Allied Forces formally accepted Germany's surrender. Her Majesty The Queen will address the nation at 9pm.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside's Armed Forces Forum, said: "The Second World War was a dark and terrifying period. When it was all over, communities quite rightly celebrated. But of course, there were also families left completely devastated, bereaved and seeking solace in the aftermath.

"VE Day not only enables us to celebrate this special anniversary but to remember all those people from all walks of life who sacrificed so much for their country. Many were never to be seen again. Many returned home from the frontline injured with their lives changed forever.

"Despite the current difficult circumstances we all find ourselves in, we are determined more than ever to unite communities just as they did 75 years ago to recognise such incredible service to the nation, to pay tribute to all those who served in the Second World War and to reflect on the impact it had on our history and on the future of our country."

For further information about the wealth of support given to the local Armed Forces community - ex-servicemen and women, serving officers and their families - visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/armedforces

Follow South Tyneside Council's social media channels to share VE Day activities and celebrations on Facebook STynesideCouncil and LoveSTyneside and on Twitter @STyne_Council and @LoveSTyneside. Use the hashtag #VEDay75

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